LARAMIE, Wyo. (Jan. 24, 2014) KGWN-Four bonus-point wins pushed the UW (2-6 overall, 0-1 Western Wrestling Conference) was victorious in the final non-conference dual of the season and the Cowboys broke a six-dual losing streak to find themselves on the winning end for the first time since Nov. 15. Wyoming head coach Mark Branch won the 20th home dual of his career Friday night in front of a crowd of 893.
“I told somebody earlier this week that I’d buy a win at this point,” Branch said. “It was nice to not only to come out with a win, but to make it a little lopsided and shake off that last dual (a Jan. 19 loss to South Dakota State). That was important for this team.
“It can be something we can build on, but we can’t think our issues are fixed overnight because of one dual. We have to keep our heads down and keep working to get better. I saw some really good things but I also saw things we have to get better at. Overall, it’s exciting because we haven’t seen the win column since November.”
Redshirt freshman Tanner Miller (157 pounds) started things off with his first career dual win, a 6-4 decision, to jump-start the Cowboys. Decisions from junior Dakota Friesth (165) and redshirt freshman Benjamin Stroh (184) gave UW a 9-3 lead, and then the Pokes came alive for their bonus-point wins. Junior Shane Woods (197) earned a 20-4 technical fall, junior Tyler Cox rolled to a 23-8 tech fall and redshirt freshman Cole Mendenhall pinned his opponent at the 3:50 mark.
Perhaps the highlight of the dual was the performance of junior Leland Pfeifer, who outworked Mustang Spencer Empey in a 14-5 major decision at heavyweight. The undersized Pfeifer avenged an early-season loss to Empey at the Las Vegas Invitational.
“Leland came out on fire and lit the crowd up and wrestled a great match,” Branch said. “In his last dual, I called him the ‘Heartbreak Kid’ but he didn’t break my heart tonight.”
The Cowboys will be back at it in Western Wrestling Conference action on Feb. 7 versus Northern Colorado in Laramie.
157: Tanner Miller dec. Luke McDonald (CP), 6-4 / Wyoming 3, Cal Poly 0
165: #NR/NR/18 Dakota Friesth dec. Travis Berridge (CP), 10-3 / Wyoming 6, Cal Poly 0
174: Dominic Kastl (CP) dec. Brent Havlik, 6-1 / Wyoming 6, Cal Poly 3
184: #19/16/19 Benjamin Stroh dec. Sean Dougherty (CP), 8-1 / Wyoming 9, Cal Poly 3
197: #NR/NR/24 Shane Woods tech. fall Nicolas Johnson (CP), 20-4 / Wyoming 14, Cal Poly 3
285: Leland Pfeifer maj. dec. Spencer Empey (CP), 14-5 / Wyoming 18, Cal Poly 3
125: #8/9/10 Tyler Cox tech. fall Britain Longmire (CP), 23-8 / Wyoming 23, Cal Poly 3
133: #19/20/18 Devon Lotito (CP) fall (2:44) Gunnar Woodburn / Wyoming 23, Cal Poly 9
141: Kyle Komata OR Cole Mendenhall vs. Victor Trujillo (CP) / Wyoming 29, Cal Poly 9
149: Blake Kastl (CP) dec. Jake Elliott, 7-4 / Wyoming 29, Cal Poly 12
Rankings based on most recent InterMat/AWN/D1CollegeWrestling.net polls.